Astronomers discover a frozen supertier near our Solar System
The international team has uncovered a frozen Super Earth circling around another nearby star system or the closest star to our Sun, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The cold planet revolves around Bernard's star, our fourth closest neighboring star in general, following the Alpha Centauri system with a triple star. The star of Bernard, only six light years from Earth, is smaller and older than our Sun and is one of the least active red dwarfs.
Astronomers were transmitting data from seven instruments, including a spectrograph to find the planets on the Magellan II telescope at the Carnegie Science Institute in Washington.
"After a very careful analysis, we have more than 99% of the safety that the planet is there," said Ignasi Ribas, the lead author of the Catalonia Institute for Spatial Studies in Spain.
Named Barnard Star b, the planet has at least 3.2 times mass mass and orbits its star every 233 days in the distance where the water would freeze. Scientists estimate a surface temperature of minus 150 degrees Celsius.
Using the radial velocity technique, astronomers discovered small movements that the gravity of the planet causes in the orbit of a star.
They said that the features of the newly discovered planets have made an excellent target for direct recording using the next generation of instruments such as the Visconsin Infrared Inspection Telescope (VFIRST) from NASA.